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Prayers before dawn on Radio 2: Backlash as broadcaster moves hymns show to a 6am slotSunday Half Hour moves from 8:30pm to earlier hour-long slotTwitter users branded the new time 'ridiculous'
Presenter Diane Louise Jordan told regular listeners that they can catch up on iPlayer
01:06 GMT, 9 January 2013
04:05 GMT, 9 January 2013
Listeners have reacted with anger after Radio 2 moved church hymns show Sunday Half Hour from 8.30pm to a 6am slot.
Presenter Diane Louise Jordan announced the new time at the weekend.
From January 20, the programme will be broadcast in a new 60-minute format as Sunday Hour.
Change: Presenter of church hymns show Sunday Half Hour told listeners at the weekend that the programme would be moving from an 8:30pm slot to a 6am slot
The news was greeted with a storm of
criticism on Twitter, with listeners branding the new time ‘ridiculous’
and an ‘insult’ to the audience.
Others accused bosses of being ‘unfair’ and deliberately pushing loyal listeners away.
One tweeted: ‘Moving from 8.30pm to 6am looks like marginalisation.’
Miss Jordan told listeners who will be ‘fast asleep at six o’clock’ that they can listen to the show on BBC iPlayer, but the fear is that the online catch-up service will not be used by many elderly listeners.
Reassurance: Diane-Louise Jordan told regular listeners that they can listen to the programme on iPlayer but this may not be convenient for older listeners
She said: 'As part of those changes Sunday Half
Hour is moving to a new time.
'So instead of Sunday evenings I will be
bringing all your favourite hymns as well as some new ones in a new
Sunday morning slot at six o’ clock.
‘Now I know some of you like me are
morning lovers and so are always up bright and early or at least have
the radio on to help you start your day.
'But for those of you that are
still fast asleep at six o’clock there is of course the opportunity to
listen to BBC iPlayer so you can still enjoy being part of this very
special time we have together.’
A Radio 2 spokesman said: ‘We understand how well loved Sunday
Half Hour is for many regular Radio 2 listeners so the decision to move
the programme has not been taken lightly.
‘Over the past decade, the number of
people listening to the programme and on Sunday nights generally has
declined significantly and early Sunday mornings actually reach a much
wider audience than Sunday evenings.’
The long-running programme will be replaced on January 20 in its 8.30pm slot by a show presented by West End musicals star Michael Ball.
This will air between 7pm and 9pm and focus on popular music from the 1940s to the present day.